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Jethro Middleton: 13-year-old fell to death after going on moss-covered skylight of warehouse for 'fun'

'We just did it because it was scary and it was fun,' one of the pals of Middleton, who was with him at the time of the incident, reportedly said
Image used for representation only (Photography by Jeremy Villasis. Philippines/ Getty Images)
Image used for representation only (Photography by Jeremy Villasis. Philippines/ Getty Images)

OKEHAMPTON, DEVON: A teenager lost his life after going on the roof of a warehouse for “fun”. Jethro Middleton reportedly went on the moss-covered skylight with two of his friends, who informed the warehouse’s employees but he could not be saved.

The unfortunate incident happened in April last year when the boy climbed the flimsy as well as the bogged dome of the warehouse on an industrial estate in Okehampton, Devon, an inquest has been told as reported by The Sun. As per a senior Devon coroner Philip Spinney, “On 13th April 2022, Jethro had gained access to the roof of a warehouse, known as B Thompson & Sons Transport on the North Road Industrial Estate in Okehampton. Whilst running across the roof area, a section of the roof broke and he fell through the roof to the concrete floor some 40 feet below. Despite the efforts of police and paramedics he was pronounced deceased at the scene.”


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The other two surviving boys reportedly claimed that a group of half a dozen youngsters was also accompanying them when the incident happened. First, they passed their time inside the warehouse but they apparently got bored and decided to go to the rooftop. The teenagers then planned to go to the scaffolding but after seeing people and trucks, they canceled their plan. Middleton, however, reportedly did not go back. The publication stated that he was probably checking his phone at the time and “trod on plastic roof panels which were covered in moss. The pal said you could not tell the difference between the panels and the roof because of the moss.”

The boy’s friends ran to see what happened after apparently hearing a “crack” sound. They found Middleton lying on a concrete floor 40ft below. It has also been revealed that a warning sign was up there, where the accident happened but the teenagers failed to notice it. One of the teens also added that “we just did it because it was scary and it was fun.”

Following the fall, Middleton was reportedly immediately attended by emergency services but he was pronounced dead. Later, an autopsy conducted on his body stated that his cause of death was a fatal head wound, with Spinney calling it “tragic”. “We can confirm that an inquest into the death of Jethro Middleton, age 13, was opened on April 20 2022 then adjourned to a provisional date of January 12, 2023,” a spokesman for the Exeter Coroner's Office added.

Last year after the unfortunate incident, the principal of Okehampton College in Devon, where Middleton was studying, Craig Griffiths said, “The entire Okehampton community remains shocked and deeply saddened by Jethro's passing, but it has been incredibly heartening to see everyone rally together. This outpouring of kindness is a testament to Jethro's positive impact on everyone he met, and alongside extensive pastoral support for both staff and students, we will be honoring his memory once school returns after the Easter break."